How to apply for a plumbing license in Virginia
To apply for the license, either journeyman or master, you need to meet the pre-requisites and then fill out the application form found on the state website. The application is the same form regardless of the type of license you are applying for. The fee, however, is different.
The fee for the journeyman exam is $100, and the fee for the master exam is $125. There is no separate examination fee – if you’re applying for reciprocity, meaning you already hold a license from a state that has reciprocity with Virginia, it is a similar fee but you will not need to sit for the examination.
Completing your high school education
A high school education or GED is not listed specifically as a requirement by the state of Virginia. However, many apprenticeships will require you to complete your high school education, or have your GED.
Obtaining an apprenticeship
Part of the path to becoming a licensed plumber is vocational training, otherwise known as apprentice training. This is educational training in a classroom setting. You will also need on-the-job hours logged in order to qualify for licensure. The amount of time spent as an apprentice in Virginia will determine the required hours of vocational training required for a license. The longer you work as an apprentice, the fewer hours of formal vocational training are required.
Licensing requirements in the state of Virginia
Obtaining a Journeyman Plumbing License
Obtaining a journeyman plumbing license in the state of Virginia has a few different paths, but all of them combine varying amounts of practical on the job experience with vocational training. The following is a list of combinations that fulfill the training requirements:
- Four years of practical experience in the trade and 240 hours of formal vocational training in the trade.
- Five years of practical experience in the trade and 160 hours of formal vocational training in the trade.
- Six years of practical experience in the trade and 80 hours of formal vocational training in the trade.
- Seven or more years of practical experience in the trade and 40 hours of formal vocational training in the trade.
- Associates degree or certificate of completion from at least a two-year program in a tradesman related field from an accredited community college or technical school and two years of practical experience in the trade for which licensure is requested.
- Bachelor’s degree or certificate of completion from an accredited college or university in an engineering curriculum related to the trade and one year of practical experience in the trade for which licensure is requested.
- You can also meet the requirement if you have ten years of experience in the field “as verified by individuals who have observed the applicant’s work in the trade.”
Regardless of your experience, practical experience is required in order to become a journeyman plumber in Virginia. This practical experience can be gained through an apprenticeship program, which will provide both experience and educational classroom training toward your plumbing license.
After your apprenticeship, you will need to pass the exam for journeyman tradesmen, after which you will be able to apply for a plumbing license.
Obtaining a Master Plumbing License
In order to obtain a master plumbing license from the state of Virginia, you must first have a journeyman license. You will need at least one year of work as a licensed journeyman plumber, after which you will be eligible to obtain a master plumbing license. If you have 10 years of experience as verified by individuals who have observed your work you will have met the requirement wihtout the need for a journeyman license. However, either way, you will be requried to pass the master plumbing test. After you pass, you will be able to apply for the master plumbing license.
If you want to get started on your path to plumbing in Virginia, here are a few helpful links:
Virginia Board for Contractors Approved Tradesman Formal Vocation Training Providers: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/uploadedFiles/MainSite/Content/Boards/Tradesmen/A501-27TRADE_VOCED_PROVIDERS.pdf
The “Re-Employing Virginians” (REV) campaign: https://www.vccs.edu/rev/
Virginia Tradesman application: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/uploadedFiles/MainSite/Content/Boards/Tradesmen/A501-2710EXLIC-v4_01-27-2016_pdf.pdf
Plumbing courses in Virginia
It can be daunting to try and find the best place to start your education in plumbing. Depending on your geographic location, you may find many resources or just a few. While there are overall many possible solutions for plumbing education in Virginia, here are a few institutions that offer plumbing courses across the region.
Central Virginia Community College
3506 Wards Road, Lynchburg, VA 24502
Phone : (434) 832-7800
Lord Fairfax Community College
173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645
Phone : (504) 868-7021
Massanutten Technical Center
325 Pleasant Valley Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Phone : (540) 434-5962
Piedmont Virginia Community College-C.A. Techn Center
1000 E. Rio Road/501 College Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22901
Phone : (434) 973-1945
Pruden Center for Industry & Technology
4169 Pruden Blvd., Suffolk, VA 23432
Phone : (757) 925-5651
Valley Vocational Tech Center
49 Hornet Road, Fisherville, VA 22939
Phone : (540) 245-5002
Virginia Technical Institute
201 Ogden Road
Altavista, VA 24517